Stone Ridge Library Fair this Saturday

The library will be reserving its nearby parking for handicapped access to the Library Fair, but fairgoers can utilize the free shuttle-bus service provided by the Arthur Mulligan Bus Company between the library and SUNY-Ulster and the Marbletown Elementary School, where there is plenty of parking available.

After 20 years as library director, Ford says, she has enjoyed seeing the generational changeover at the fair as the longtime volunteers welcome the new recruits and kids who first visited the library as four-year-olds with their parents come back as Honor Society students to help out – and, if they stay in the community after graduating, take over booths at the fair. “It’s like a dance, this choreography. It’s quite a setup, and it manages to happen every year.”

Stone Ridge Library Fair, Saturday, June 14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., free, Stone Ridge Library lawn, 3700 Main Street, Stone Ridge; (845) 687-7023, www.stoneridgelibrary.org.

 

Julia’s back pages: A unique glimpse into the everyday life of a 19th-century woman

The Stone Ridge Library has a storied history (no pun intended) that began when Julia Hasbrouck Dwight presented her childhood home to the community in 1909 to be used as a library. She had grown up in the circa-1798 house with her parents, Garret Decker Hasbrouck and Julia Lawrence Hasbrouck, who had purchased the house from Garret’s brother Cornelius Hasbrouck in 1861.

The elder Julia (pictured to the left) kept diaries: detailed accounts of nearly four decades of her life, both in Stone Ridge and at the couple’s New York City residence. She chronicled her role and responsibilities as a 19th-century woman in meticulously written entries dating from 1838 to 1873, revealing a unique glimpse into the everyday life of an ordinary woman.

    I spend two hours on this very commonplace book; it is almost a disgrace to my pen & powers. Could I write with regularity, and some of my inward life, and less of other people’s actions, it would be far more profitable and entertaining. If my pen & ink were better, I think it possible I might be inspired, but poor paper, and stubborn steel pens are the grave of intellectual feasts. My next book of events if spared to relate them; shall be carefully written for my daughter’s profit when I am gone, she shall then see a picture of the inner life, the thoughts that daily pass through the mind of a dreamer.

– Julia Lawrence Hasbrouck

The diaries fill 17 journals, which today, along with daguerreotypes, portraits, school composition books, pianoforte music and two diaries kept by the younger Julia, form the Julia Lawrence Hasbrouck Collection at the Stone Ridge Library. Local historian Susan Stessin-Cohen maintains the library’s “Julia blog,” in which diary entries written by the elder Julia are posted on the library’s website on the same date – nearly 200 years later than they were written – giving a sort of “real-time” feeling to reading the entries.

Julia’s home remains in use today as part of the library complex, with two original fireplaces intact, as well as hardware and woodwork that date to the house’s construction. The main entrance today is through a wood-and-glass addition that joins Julia’s house to the circa-early-1800s Wood/Elmendorf house that the library bought in 1978.

The buildings are now about midway through a major renovation project, says Jody Ford, the library’s director. “We’ve raised our first $300,00, and are now embarking on raising the next $300,000. The first brace [holding up the building] is down, and it’s our goal to get the second brace down this summer.”

The brace holding up the stone wall has been up for ten years, she says. “Right now they’re placing steel rods in the building to tie it together. The next step is to take the top stones off the triangle at the top of the north building and replace that with wood to alleviate some of the weight on the building’s foundation.” As that happens, the very large brace will eventually come down and the building will stand on its own again. The library’s operators are raising money on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, completing the project as they’re able.

The Julia blog may be accessed at www.frommypenandpower.wordpress.com or through the library’s home page at www.stoneridgelibrary.org.

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